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Asking the Clergy: Why is humility considered a virtue for people of faith?

From left, Narinder Kapoor of the Multi-Faith Forum

From left, Narinder Kapoor of the Multi-Faith Forum of Long Island, Erik Larson of Global Harmony House of the Brahma Kumaris and Thomas Schmidt of New Apostolic Church. Credit: Narinder Kapoor; Steve Pfost; New Apostolic Church

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” according to the Bible's Book of Proverbs (16:18). Christianity, Judaism and other world faiths discourage pride. This week’s clergy discuss how humbling yourself can bring you closer to God and improve your relationship with fellow human beings.

Narinder Kapoor

Member, board of directors, Multi-Faith Forum of Long Island, Melville

With pride comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. People of faith profoundly believe that all are children of one God.

We practice mindfulness, focus on the present and are always grateful for what we have. Our mindset is to love others and to accept the whole of creation as it is. There are billions of galaxies and trillions of stars — a humongous and mystic display that makes people of faith perceive ourselves as a tiny part of this phenomenal creation. As ego is subdued, humility is proportionally increased.

In Srimad Bhagavad Gita, a sacred treatise of Hinduism, Chapter XII, Verse XIII to Verse XVIV, the foremost characteristics of people of faith are: show goodwill to everybody and ill will to none; don’t excite others and don’t get excited by others; focus on the merits of others and not their demerits. Practice these qualities and you become very peaceful, sensitive, empathetic, positive and extremely compassionate. The world becomes one family. You start perceiving others as your own projection and extension, and become the epitome of humility.  

Erik Larson

Teacher, Global Harmony House (Brahma Kumaris), Great Neck

Humility is a virtue because it allows the basis of faith to be seen. To have humility is to have self-respect. It allows another to be close, for them to hear what you have to say and see how you live.

When spiritual servers consider themselves to be an instrument, it is easy to have humility. This is not my task but God's task in which I am assisting. That makes the situation light and frees one from needing to prove anything but only serve other souls.

The sign of greatness is humility. No matter what another person is like, a server with humility would look at them with a vision of mercy and not with a vision of arrogance. Those who remain arrogant do not receive respect and people run away from them. It is said that a tree bows down to the extent that it is full. Only when we have something can we offer it. We take from God and share it. To live like the truth is ours alone leads to disharmony and division.

Thomas Schmidt

Apostle, New Apostolic Church, Bethpage

A virtue of people of faith is humility. Jesus made humility a prerequisite for receiving salvation (Matthew 18:3-4). He is our example, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)

God is love. Jesus expressed God’s love by humbling himself to the level of human beings, serving and suffering for them in order to ultimately be elevated with them. Humility is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

We recognize that, just like our neighbor, we are sinners who need grace in order to be saved. God loves our neighbor as he loves us. Godly humility makes clear that my neighbor does not have to become like me in order to be loved by God as I am loved by him. Humbly we serve our neighbors, inspire them to do good works, and help each other on the path to our collective salvation.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS you’d like Newsday to ask the clergy? Email them to LILife@newsday.com. Find more LI Life stories at newsday.com/LILife.

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